Thursday, January 24, 2013

Ideas and Their Origins

An unfortunate consequence of the human condition is how susceptible it is to biases and manipulations that can cause one to be so firmly entrenched into an illogical viewpoint. My own view (shaped by mounds of horse shit) is that so much of the misinformation in our world today can lead us as a society to come to some very illogical conclusions.

One unfortunate examples about how we come to our ideas is exemplified by the fact that so many German's smoke. Now, there are many reasons for this as this article illustrates, but one reason roots back to Adolf Hitler and his view on smoking. 

"The real reason could be the eternal millstone around Germany's neck, the Third Reich. Hitler was a fanatical anti-smoker and tobacco was condemned as a 'genetic poison' endangering the Aryan race. With that kind of anti-tobacco activist haunting the collective memory, it's no wonder that Germans are keen to be seen as tolerant of smokers, even if the logic is a bit faulty--Hitler may have been a vegetarian but that doesn't mean liberals should eat as much meat as they can (, 2005)"

Hitler hated smoking and the National Socialist Party created some fairly strict anti-smoking measures. It is thus that German has made the logical source  based judgement "Hitler was a bat-shit monster, Hitler hated smoking and thus smoking must be a good thing!". Now obviously just because so much of Hitler's views were atrocious does not mean that smoking is a good thing just because  he thought the opposite. Similar to this is our current political system and the heightened divisions between our two parties. As we're continually being called a "more  divided America" and because there is again, mostly horse shit being flung around our democratic discourse, so much of our political views our shaped by who says what.

Now, lord knows I do this.  If Politician X who I think is a fart in a can supports  policy Y, lord knows I'll be against it. But if Politician Y who I believe  is a top notch individual, I'll go along with the idea regardless of it's individual merits. I at least do this sometimes, and at other points  I'm able to catch this.  Romneycare / Obamacare might be an apt example of this. Though it was once create by a republican governor, once it becomes embraced by a Obama it becomes hated by the similar party that created it.

The packaging, labeling and a source of an idea becomes more important than the intrinsic merits of the idea which is unfortunate. It lends to the old theme of how mindless people can be in following ideas. The skepticism and ability to think critically become so utterly crucial. We have so many ideas out there, so many problems. We also have so many people and institutions that don't necessarily come up with good ideas but are very good at selling bad ones.